What happened: Alphabet chairperson John Hennessy has cast doubt on Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s plan to bring a filtered version of the company’s search engine to China. Hennessy says he doesn’t know if Chinese citizens would be better off an improved search engine if its results are restricted, asking whether it “will improve the quality of their lives.” He said that every company that does business in China compromises some of their values.
Why it’s important: There has been much speculation and even more outrage over Google’s re-entry into the Chinese search market in the past few months. Judging from reports, there is increased disquiet among the ranks of Google employees, with the company trying to suppress an internal memo detailing the project. Ethical issues aside, Google faces considerable challenges in the search market. Existing players including Sogou and Baidu hold much of the market share, which Google will have a hard time winning if it doesn’t offer something of value.